I was fortunate to attend the marketing conference, The Gathering, organized by Cult. The conference featured presentations and “how to(s)” from some of North America’s biggest brands. These brands included, Old Navy, Tim Horton’s, Red Bull, GoPro, YouTube, Las Vegas, Disney…etc.
The speaker I enjoyed the most was Matt O’Neil, the sr. director of brand and media for the Dallas Cowboys. Matt’s presentation resonated with me, because of my involvement in sports marketing and because I found his presentation truthful and to the point. In today’s marketing and branding realm, the consumer dictates the brand. As marketers our mission is to create content that emotionally connects with our audience. As a marketer, I don’t want customers. I want fans.
I like referring to my core customers as fans, because their passion for my brand inspires me. (There is nothing cooler that seeing your brand tattooed on a fan). A fan/brand relationship is personal. Fans will tell you what they think; they’ll tell you the ugly, they’ll tell you what you don’t want to hear, and they’ll stick by your side. (Because being a fan, means sticking with the team for the long haul).
To genuinely engage with your FANS, think and play like an athlete. Matt Recommends brands incorporate speed, strength and agility into their marketing strategy.
- Speed: SH*T happens fast! Fans demand content in real-time. When something big goes down you have a short window of opportunity to take the opportunity and run with it. The window of relevance is short-lived. (The colour of what dress??)
- Strength: Craft your messages to be power hitters! Fans have high Brand IQ’s, they don’t want fluff they want the real deal. Connect with fans by giving them content they can sink their teeth in.
- Beast Mode: (Sorry Cowboys) There is strong, and then there is Marshawn Lynch. When content runs a hundred yard touchdown in Beast Mode, promote it. When content goes viral, get behind it and adapt your strategy. In other words, but your strength behind something that works.
- Agility: Social Media has transformed the way brands and fans interact. Through social media fans can share and create content. In the new order of the media world there is the possibility to be surprised by content. The next big marketing hit can come from anywhere. As marketers it’s our challenge to be agile. We need to stay connected so we can respond to and move with messaging as it comes our way.